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Alive on 25 moves to Friday this year; dates set for Cardboard Boat Race, Halloween Fest and more

Alive on 25, the downtown festival with live bands, food vendors and more, will shift to Fridays this year for the first time as a way to boost attendance.

The events had always been held on a Thursday night since the series debuted in 2016.

The first of four dates is scheduled for Friday, July 1, in conjunction with a fireworks and car show, according to a schedule of events submitted by the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association. The Riverhead Town Board will need to formally vote to approve the schedule at an upcoming meeting.

Steve Shauger, president of the BID, said while the first Alive on 25 date featuring fireworks typically draws a big crowd, attendance tends to lag in the later events.

“We feel by moving those over to Fridays we’d be able to capitalize a little more on the weekend people that are coming into the town,” he said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town work session.

He said the BID is working with Riverhead Town police to assure there’s adequate safety in place if people stay downtown longer than they typically would have on a Thursday night. Alive on 25 was modeled after Patchogue’s Alive after Five, which originated as a Friday night event more than a decade ago but later switched to Thursday’s as the events grew larger and larger. Alive after Five was canceled the past two summers amid the pandemic and was transformed last summer into a smaller, more family-friendly event.

Alive on 25 in Riverhead resumed last summer.

Mr. Shauger said restaurants in the BID can offer table service in the street at no cost.

“That’s something we rolled out last year,” he said. “We didn’t get as much participation as we would like, but we would like the businesses to come out to add that aspect to the event. W’re looking to grow on the kid zone as well.”

He said the space being created for the Town Square could be used, if possible.

The second Alive on 25 is scheduled for Friday, July 15 and will be the rain date for fireworks. The last two Alive on 25’s will be Friday, July 29 and Friday, Aug. 12. A rain date is set for Aug. 19.

“The Friday night Alive on 25 setup is going to be so successful,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard. “I think it’s such a great idea to go to Friday nights.”

The Cardboard Boat Race, which typically draws a big crowd to the Peconic Riverfront, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13 and is hosted in partnership with the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. A rain date is Aug. 20.

Mr. Hubbard asked if the BID checked with the tide schedule when determining the date for the Cardboard Boat Race and Mr. Shauger said the tides dictate the best date. That led to back-to-back events with Alive on 25 on Friday, and the Cardboard Boat Race the next day.

A date for the Oktoberfest, which is co-hosted with the East End Tourism Alliance, is pending for either Oct. 1 or 8. Mr. Shauger said Oct. 1 coincides with a breast cancer walk in town, so the BID needs to make sure there’s enough time to transition resources, such as a pumphouse.

“I think it’s going to be quite successful this year,” said Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.

Mr. Shauger said the BID will looking to use grant money to spread word for the Oktoberfest event, which is the newest addition to the lineup and was unveiled last year.

The Halloween Fest, featuring a parade, coffin races and trick or treating, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22. A rain date is Oct. 29.

The final event, the holiday parade and bonfire, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10. The event is co-hosted with the Riverhead Lion’s Club. A rain date is Saturday, Dec. 17.

Grangebel Park will once again host Reflextions: Art in the Park this summer and fall. The first date is scheduled for Saturday, July 23. Additional dates are: Friday, Aug. 12 and Saturday, Sept. 10.

“All of these are a heck of a lot of fun,” said Councilman Frank Beyrodt. “And a good excuse for people to come out of their homes to the downtown area and enjoy what Riverhead has to offer.”

Correction: The story initially listed two dates for Alive on 25, but there will be four total.